When It’s Okay To Leave Corporate America For Your Startup Dream Job

There are certain benefits to working in corporate America. Your job is usually pretty well defined, you may have great benefits, and you know that your company is going to be there day after day. You are often a cog in a well-oiled machine, and that can feel great.

But for those who really want to effect change in the business world at large, it may be difficult to effect that change in the unwieldy ship of a big corporate business.

Changes in the big corporations.

When companies get to a certain size, they tend to be more stable and less nimble. Change is difficult, and responding to change can be even harder.

Those who see the appeal of startups often have a different set of priorities. They want to turn some portion of the business world on its head, disrupt something, or provide a new and unique perspective to an audience that is underserved.

If you have been building a sideline business, see a unique opportunity, or have the potential to join the team at a fascinating new startup, when is the right time to leave?

Plenty of resources to fall back on.

One mistake people make is leaving their corporate or reliable jobs too soon.

This is especially true when they’re starting their own business. As soon as the blog or the website starts to make a little bit of money, it can be tempting to jump ship on their current position.

But there are a lot of reasons to stick around as long as you can.

One of the most important reasons is that it’s more expensive to be self-employed than people might think.

Roughly a third of a business’s income needs to be used to pay for taxes. If a person currently gets insurance through their job, they will need to pay for it out of pocket instead of out of their paycheck.

Too many businesses are bootstrapped with credit cards. If the company fails, there’s a pile of debt that still needs to be paid.

Many experts say that before you start polishing up your epic resume to score a dream job, you will need; 

  • three to six months of savings in the bank.
  • a 30 percent increase in current earnings to cover taxes, insurance and other costs your current job might cover.

Family is on board.

Behind every successful business founder, is likely a supportive family, close friends or spouse who is willing to pick up the slack at home, to cover for what happens during occasional 90 hour work weeks.

Getting a startup off the ground with a newborn, or a child or spouse with intense personal or medical needs, takes a difficult situation and makes it potentially insurmountable.

Before you leave corporate America for your dream job, make sure your family is just as committed to your business idea or the intensity of working for a new startup, as you are.

It’s also worth noting that many businesses are bootstrapped with loans from friends and family. Making sure everyone thinks the company is a great idea and wants to see it succeed, before quitting that corporate job. It can make those conversations about financial support easier.

Work with an idol.

One big reason to leave corporate America is finding the chance to work with an idol or mentor at a startup.

If there is a person in your field that you feel would dramatically improve your knowledge and understanding as an entrepreneur and professional. If you get the chance to work with them, saying no can be very difficult!

If you have the chance to work with someone who has the potential to make that kind of difference in your career, there are still a few things to consider before you jump ship.

  • Will the startup dream job offer sufficient compensation or will you be working for free? Remember not to look just at the salary, but consider benefits you would be losing and gaining.
  • Are you guaranteed to work with the person that you want to learn from? Just being at the same company is probably not enough. You want to work with them on a regular basis if you expect to actually learn from them.
  • Is there a way to keep your current job and also learn from this person? Would they be willing to be a mentor? Will they be training or giving talks and classes in your area?

Again, leaving your corporate job so that you can work with someone you desperately want to learn more from, can be a perfectly good choice. Just proceed with caution and make sure you’re making the right choice for you.

You can’t stay any longer.

This is a simple and real fact that explains why many people end up choosing a startup job over the security of a corporate job.

Some people love working within corporate America. They feel comfortable, enjoy their job or working environment, secure or that they’re making a difference. Many people are perfectly willing to keep doing the same job throughout their entire careers.

Most of the people who leave corporate America for startups don’t feel that way. Sometimes they’re gently horrified by that concept.

Parting thoughts.

If you’ve put in your time within the corporate structure and feel incredibly confined, it may be time to leave. If you feel like you’ve learned all you can in the often siloed structure of the corporate office, you may want to consider moving on.

If you hate your job to the point that you’re being self-destructive, it’s almost certainly time for a change, either in attitude or location.

If you have the freedom to leave your corporate job for a more inspiring, fulfilling startup dream job, that can be the perfect decision for you, your family, and your career.

The key is to make sure that you’re ready to leave. Make sure that the right job is waiting for you when you make the jump.